Artists create Music Council for Digital Millennium Copyright Act reform

Panel of 93 artists want act changed to reflect today’s climate

The Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), the artist-run, non-profit organization that championed the Music Modernization Act and CLASSICS Act, is leading the charge to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and initiated the creation of a COVID-19 resource guide for musicians, has announced the formation of a Music Council. The 93-artist consortium will provide perspective and advisory input, as well as support for the awareness of key issues that face content creators today. Those named include Jason Isbell, Bette Midler, Cassandra Wilson, Duke Fakir, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, T Bone Burnett, Sheryl Crow, Keb’ Mo’, Steve Earle, and Joan Osborne.

Additionally, the ARA has released an Artists’ Bill of Rights to outline their fundamental principles and recommendations for today’s music economy and to keep the artistic community aware of their rights as it pertains to their work. Depicted are policy hotspots, including fair pay from streaming services, copyright law, political participation, curbing industrial-scale piracy, and reining in big technology platforms that unfairly profit from music. ARA staunchly opposes the Liberty Media/iHeartMedia merger, which would give Liberty Media an unprecedented stake in the broadcast media world.

“We are so grateful to our Music Council volunteers who will join with us to advocate for our peers in building a more compassionate and enduring music economy,” shares GRAMMY Award winner and board member Rosanne Cash. “It has never been easy for independent musicians to earn a living, and it’s indescribably harder today in the current global crisis. We must work together to defend today’s hardworking musicians, and to protect the next generation of artists.”

“Even before the pandemic, the music economy was teetering on the edge,” adds board member and founder Cake founder John McCrea. “Technology companies prosper, while musicians are paid micro-pennies per stream, not to mention the loss of funds from touring. This crisis has laid bare what a slender reed our fellow musicians were hanging onto and calls upon us to get work building something new and more humane. ARA has always operated on an artist-to-artist model, connecting, engaging, and empowering each other built on the basic truth that no one will fight for you if you aren’t out there fighting for yourself.”

The Artist Rights Alliance is an artist-run, non-profit organization fighting for songwriters and musicians in the modern music economy. It is led by a Board of Directors including GRAMMY winner Rosanne Cash, music manager Thomas Manzi, John McCrea of Cake, critically-acclaimed Americana singer/songwriter Tift Merritt, world guitar innovator Matthew Montfort, and indie label executive and musician Maggie Vail. Longtime DC political strategist and former top House of Representatives staffer Ted Kalo is ARA’s Executive Director.

In addition to its advocacy work, one of ARA’s key missions is providing artists and their allies with resources, knowledge, and tools to navigate the complex music business landscape. ARA’s Nashville-based educational and grassroots initiatives are led by Erin McAnally and Chelsea Crowell, musicians and creators with lifetime experience in and around songwriters, creators, and the music business. ARA has additionally set up a new website and artists’ forum to serve as an educational resource, advocacy platform, and open meeting place for songwriters and performers to exchange information and organize grassroots activities and campaigns.

ARA works to ensure artists are at the table when decisions are made on policies that affect their lives and livelihoods, and empowers artists to advocate directly for themselves through classes, events, and presentations to demystify music, politics, and the spaces where they intersect.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.